/ Modified oct 19, 2022 8:34 a.m.

MacKenzie Scott gives Girl Scouts $84.5 million, largest in history

Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona was one of the 29 councils that received funding.

Tucson Girl  Scouts Girl Scouts from Tucson Troop 6.
Chinna Garza

The Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona have received a $1.4 million dollar donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos.

The gift is a slice of the $84.5 million dollar donation that Scott has donated to the Girl Scouts of the USA. This makes it the largest donation from a single individual in the history of both the Southern Arizona Girl Scouts and the national organization.

Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona is one of 29 councils across the nation that were recipients of the donation. They say the money will be used to fast track projects that were originally going to take two to three years. For example, the council will create a mobile unit to serve rural communities that do not have Girl Scouts from the funding.

They also plan to use the funds to:

  • Enhance equitable membership opportunities by breaking down accessibility barriers and including initiatives geared towards diversity, inclusion and equity
  • Expand access to STEM exploration through building on areas of interest like hands-on coding, aeronautics and sustainability
  • Bolster training and research to help better equip staff and volunteers on how to support girls
  • Modernize its facilities like camping properties

However, Kristen Garcia-Hernandez, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, says the funding will only last for so long and unlike what most think, girl scout cookie sales alone cannot cover costs.

“This gift is a game changer, but we're hoping that the community truly rallies behind and finds the value in investing in girls, which is that female leadership pipeline,” Garcia-Hernandez said.

In a study done by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, only 1.9% of donations were towards womens’ and girls’ organizations in 2019. Garcia is hopeful that this donation will help fight the low number and better improve accessibility to programs

“Regardless of where you're at, and the resources readily available, we want to ensure that all Girl Scouts have the same equitable experience, whether you're in Pima County, or you're in Santa Cruz County, or anywhere within southern Arizona,” Garcia-Hernandez said.

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